Friday, August 29, 2014

Dressing (well) for Pregnancy

I don't know about the rest of you, but the thought of dropping hundreds of dollars on maternity clothing that I would only wear for 3-4 months made me cringe. I learned quickly that these clothes are NOT cheap, despite their short life. $70 for a pair of jeans? I rarely will spend that on normal jeans. I decided to approach dressing for pregnancy as a challenge: I wanted to get the most bang for my buck, minimize the actual 'maternity clothes', and still feel like I liked what I was wearing.

My must have maternity items:

I did cave and buy a few items, that I would splurge on again. My absolute top purchase was my Jessica Simpson jean shorts. I wrestled with spending $40 on such a short lived item for weeks, and my biggest regret is that I didn't purchase them right away. I LIVED in these. They looked nothing like maternity shorts, and the stretchy belly panel felt heaven sent after weeks of the hair-tie on my shorts trick. If you are expecting in the summer, buy them. When it's 90 degrees and humid and you are 7 months pregnant, being comfortable AND looking cute in these shorts will make your day.

I also bought a few maternity dresses I would absolutely purchase again. They grew well with me and my belly, and were dressy enough that I could wear them to work. I also got mine on sale (Old Navy always has great coupons/promotions) so I don't cry when I look at what I spent.

Living in a cold weather state, I found a few pairs of maternity leggings to be a must. I got mine at the Gap, and absolutely love them. They fit below the belly, and are so comfortable and soft. Best of all, they transitioned well through pregnancy, fitting well when I merely felt bloated up until my final days of the basketball bump.

For the final months of my pregnancy, I literally lived in maxi skirts and maxi dresses. The jersey material is so soft and stretchy, I purchased a ton in different colors and have been able to try them all out post baby as well! I highly recommend maxi dresses from, as a tall girl the extended lengths were heaven sent!  Throw on a cute cardigan or your favorite jean jacket and you are business casual ready (maybe I was pushing it with the jean jacket, but I think people hesitate to scold a pregnant person for pushing the dress code limits, and I definitely took advantage). I also loved sprucing my looks up with a necklace or skinny belt, the dresses/skirts are so basic that the possibilities are endless!

Overall, dressing for pregnancy was kind of fun. I loved having an excuse to wear stretchy dresses every day, and never did I have to worry about 'sucking it in'. I also consider myself lucky to have been at my 'largest' during the summer; a lot of people say how terrible it is to be pregnant during the hot, sticky summer. However, I would much rather be pregnant when skirts and sundresses are acceptable. Maybe it is the tall girl in me who hates pants shopping in the first place (36 inch inseam, what up!) but I will pass on being pregnant when it requires bundling up in restricting pants and layers.

Now, I to pack away the maternity clothes and rediscover my closet..after months of being ignored, it feels like a brand new wardrobe and I am thrilled to be wearing my 'old' clothes again!

Monday, August 25, 2014

10 Truths and Myths About Having a Baby

Throughout my pregnancy, I was told by countless people about the different things I would suffer through. Some of those warnings were appreciated and 100% valid (for example: make sure you have lanolin). Others, not so much. I decided to put together a list of my own advice and input, to give my friends who haven't yet joined the 'mommy club' a bit of insight.

1. Sleep: it doesn't exist. I put in about 3 nights in a row of feeding every hour, on the hour. Add in the fact that my little guy was still getting the hang of eating and each feeding took about 45 minutes, that equals roughly 5 minutes of sleep per hour (because I have to deduct the ten minutes of grabbing some water, using the bathroom, and crossing my fingers that the whimpers I was hearing COULDN'T be a fussy baby AGAIN. No worries, it was).

2. Sleep gets better: I now have a 3 week old, and he definitely still wakes up at night, but he has at least decided to give me about 3 hours to sleep in between demanding a midnight snack. It is amazing how 'rested' you will feel getting 6 hours of broken up sleep after a week of getting zero.
He snoozes all afternoon so he can keep us both up all night.

3. Babies set the schedule: if you are planning on breast feeding a growing baby, be prepared to stop everything at the drop of a hat (or in this case, the cry of a fussy baby). I am continually amazed at this child's ability to eat. As I type this we are currently on dinner number '4', which should hold him over now until his midnight snack. I get frantic at Target if I can tell he is getting hungry, I schedule coffee dates around his meal times, and when we get home from our morning walk I practically dive into the shower because being removed from his car seat obviously can only mean it is time for his hourly feast. He is so cute, I don't mind.

4. Caffeine: delivering your baby is NOT a green light to indulge in coffee/your favorite caffeinated beverage. Why? Everything you eat/drink is now passed onto your baby through their feedings. My family brought me a VENTI caramel macchiato in the hospital, and the lactation consultant basically made me feel as if I was trying to kill my baby (she wasn't my favorite, the last thing I needed after my first night was a lecture). I now schedule when I drink my coffee around when little man eats (read: grab coffee the second he is done with his morning meal, not before or during), and don't touch spicy foods, because I can't imagine mango habanero boneless wings would be easy on a baby belly.

5. Alcohol: haha! Still waiting on my hard cider. They say you can have a drink if you have it right after a feeding so it has a chance to get out of your system before the next feeding. But refer back to #3: not really worth the risk when baby wants to eat every. single. hour. Once we start introducing a bottle in a week or two, I think I will finally treat myself!

6. Pregnancy will make you fat, miserable, and huge: Again, keep up the exercise and remind yourself that being pregnant isn't an excuse to devour an entire pan of brownies (at least not every day, because I am guilty of putting down my fair share of brownies) and you should be able to keep the misery somewhat  at bay. Some things, like swelling, complications, etc. are out of our control, but I honestly felt my best during my pregnancy after I had worked out, even at 8 months pregnant.

7. Don't waste your money on stretch mark creams: I have NO IDEA if it really helps or not, and as I said before, I was only pregnant for 8 months and not 9, BUT I religiously put on lotion, used oil infused scrubs, etc., and escaped pregnancy #1 without stretch marks. It might be due to good genes, but had those lovely suckers appeared, I would have been able to sleep soundly knowing I would have gotten them no matter what because I had done everything I could have. I also personally loved the smells of the lotions, and as I fit into less of my wardrobe and began to walk a bit more like a duck, it was nice to 'pamper' myself a little with new products, If it gives you peace of mind, go spend $20 on a bottle of lotion or a belly bar, and don't feel guilty about it for one second.
Does it really work? Who knows, but I swear by this stuff.

8. A boy/girl is better/easier/what you need: I am going to be brutally honest; I was a little heartbroken after my ultrasound. I wanted a pink little princess more than I can put into words. I wondered how I would handle a boy. I worried I wouldn't feel as connected (I will chalk that up to my relationship with my mom, I sooo desperately wanted a mother daughter relationship with a child like what I have with her). And then my perfect, screaming baby boy was laid on my chest and my heart practically exploded. I can't imagine him being any other person, with any other gender, hair color, or name. I love him so much I am willing to make mud pies and play super heroes when the inevitable day comes and he asks. He is exactly what I needed, and any baby you are blessed with will be. Once you meet your little person, you wouldn't change one hair on their head.
Maybe I am biased..but this face, come on. He is perfect.

9. Loving your baby: you will love your little person more than you knew possible. I remember everyone telling me this, and I knew it was true and looked forward to it. But what you feel when your baby is eating, sleeping in your arms, or just hanging out in their swing listening to theirs lullabies (I could literally watch him swing all day) really can't be put into words. I regularly burst into tears when I'm hanging out with my little handsome, and beg him to stay little forever. It's a love like no other and once you feel it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

10. Everything will be the same for everyone: I have heard horror stories, happy stories, inspiring stories, and terrifying stories. I have seen adorable pregnant women, and women who look beaten down. I have seen mamas who look like a million bucks days after giving birth, and mamas with toddlers who still feel frazzled. I have seen people drop the baby weight immediately, and people who never drop the baby weight. At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules for how you will handle pregnancy, how you will recover, and what the future holds for you and your new family. No matter what path pregnancy takes you down, though, know that the prize at the end is 100% worth it, and every mama that gets to hold her little miracle at the end of the 9 month (or lifelong, depending how you look at it) battle is the luckiest woman in the world.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcoming Our Little Party Crasher!

Our Sunday, August 3rd started out like any normal day. Mike was up and in a great mood because the weather was PERFECT and he was out for an early round of golf, and I was up and hanging out on the couch at 6:30am because baby still didn't want to let me sleep. Within minutes of Mike leaving, a nice little series of events had me questioning if my water had broken. Regardless, something was up and I called Mike, just to make sure he didn't silence his phone and throw it to the bottom of his golf bag. I had him on 'standby'. After calling labor and delivery, I was told to come in to get checked out. UGH. That was all I could think, mostly because my baby shower was a mere six or so hours away and I had been looking forward to it all week. I called Mike and told him nurses orders, we had to go in. He was just about to tee off on the first hole, I felt terrible for ruining his day of golf! I started packing some things, of course Mike told me 'why are you stressing about packing so much, worst case scenario I can just come back if you have to stay, but I have a gut feeling we will get sent home right away'.
Fast forward to the hospital, I am still feeling totally normal, no pain, no difficulties, just hoping I get out of there in time to get ready for my baby shower. Nurse number 1 (all of our nurses were fantastic, by the way) went to do a check on baby's progress, at which point my water REALLY broke. It happens in such a small number of births (all my of wonderful 'pregnancy' apps have told me 10-15%) that I was literally in shock, because the second it happened I knew that baby was coming. The nurse looked at me and said 'well, you aren't leaving until you've had your baby!' Enter the tears; scared because I was just over 36 weeks, anxious because the coming week was when I had planned to do EVERYTHING to prep for baby/deliver, and mad because darn it, I was really excited for my baby shower!
For those of you who know me well, you will also know that I wanted a very private delivery. Even our parents and siblings (much to my sister's dismay) were not going to be called until it was with a birth announcement. I wanted those first hours for me and my new little family. Of course, going into labor on the day when your entire extended family was set to come to a party in honor of your pending baby throws that plan out the window. I called my mom after getting admitted, and opened up the conversation with 'so, do you think we could have the shower next Sunday instead of today?' I explained to my very confused mom that I was in labor, and baby was definitely coming. She was convinced I was messing with her, I had to repeatedly say that this was no joke. She was so shocked that she didn't even scream (her usual reaction to things like this). From there the word was passed onto everyone, and my 'top secret' delivery became the public knowledge of our entire extended family. Oh well, lesson number one of parenthood: babies do things on their time, their schedule, and how they want!
After a few hours, an epidural, and 45 minutes of pushing (I was actually told to just do 'little' pushes because baby was so eager to come out the doctor hadn't yet arrived) we welcomed our sweet baby Jackson into the world.

Our little man came out screaming, and despite being 4 weeks early he had zero complications and is just a little rockstar. We love him so much, I could just sit and stare at him all day.
My mom did, by the way, move my shower to the next weekend. It was such a great day, and we had a very special guest that decided he wanted to come. He is so cute, I let him crash the all girl party :-)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

36 Weeks- Only 4 To Go!

We are officially into August, I never thought this day would get here. Of course, I am mentally prepared for baby Stang to delay his arrival to be a September baby. That would mean three family birthdays, all in the same month. It would also mean missing the cutoff for school, meaning it would eliminate the need for us to even debate the issue. So, whether he comes early, late, or on time, I am fine with at this point (ask me again in a week or two though, I will probably change my mind!)
We have been so busy lately, with Mike working crazy hours these past few weeks, finishing up baby’s room, and trying to declutter the basement so we can FINALLY get it finished. The positive is that it is making time go by REALLY fast. As much as I want these last few weeks to fly by, I also look at the calendar more often than not and have a mini panic attack because we have SO MUCH left to do!

How far along? 36 weeks 1 day
Gender: a little man!
Total weight gain: 26 pounds. Right on track, but this point though, half a pound a week is going to baby and his chubby cheeks!
Maternity clothes? I have a few items. My Jessica Simpson jean shorts are heaven sent, I wear them and feel like I am still wearing ‘cute’ shorts, and not the typical ‘mom pants' that maternity shorts tend to look like. I also have a few t-shirt dresses from old navy that are great. Otherwise, maxi skirts, maxi dresses, all day every day.
Stretch marks? I don’t even like to say..I’m convinced the moment I say anything those suckers are going to magically appear! I do sugar scrub (Bath and Body Works aromatherapy scrubs are to die for) and use a baby belly bar multiple times a day. If those lovely marks make their appearance, it won’t be due to negligence on my part!
Belly button in or out: still in, but according to Mike last night it is ‘just barely hanging on’. I am up in the air whether it will pop before this is all said and done.
Sleep: HAHAHAHA. I go to bed pretty early thanks to waking up at 5am for work, which means as of late I have been up around 11pm1am, and3am, at which point I usually play around on my phone and doze in and out of consciousness before I wake up half an hour before my alarm around4:30am. The other day I was taking a nap and Mike said ‘you might not sleep well if you take a nap right now’. At this point, I will take any sleep, at any time I can get it.
Exercise: Still running, I am usually able to get in my normal 30 minutes 3-4 times per week. Surprisingly, I feel the absolute best when I am running, the achiness and being uncomfortable kind of just goes away and it helps me loosen up my tight muscles, especially because I get in a nice long stretch in after. We will see how much longer I go, I am definitely listening to my body, starting off by telling myself to just do a mile and assess how I feel, and going from there.
Best moment this week: Having an ultrasound Wednesday and seeing getting to see little man in 3D! it is so much fun looking through the different pictures and trying to decide whose nose, eyes, etc. he has.
Miss Anything? My wardrobe. As much as I have loved wearing maxi dresses every day for four months straight, I cannot wait to put on a pair of skinnies and a cute top. I have also reached the point of practically drooling whenever I see someone with a Mike’s Hard Lemonade or an Angry Orchard, I may insist a 6 pack of angry orchards be placed in the refrigerator waiting for me the day I get home from the hospital.
Movement: He is a squirmy little guy, but his kicks and punches have been traded in for big, less frequent rolls, and the occasional temper tantrum in which he decides to make my entire belly shake.
Food cravings: Cereal. Not the healthy stuff, which I usually eat. I’m talking lucky charms, cinnamon toast crunch, fruity pebbles..I also decided I needed a DQ blizzard last night, and told Mike repeatedly afterwards how it was the most brilliant idea I have ever had. Nothing beats cookie dough and fudge!
Symptoms: Just in the past week, I have had a little bit of lower back pain, but nothing too intense. And surprisingly, considering the fact that I essentially no longer sleep, I have had plenty of energy and have been cleaning/organizing/finalizing things every day. Is this the ‘nesting’ everyone talks about?
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope! Been feeling great since about 15 weeks, let’s hope it stays that way through the end!
Labor Signs: None yet!
Wedding rings on or off? On, puffiness keep staying away please.
Happy or Moody most of the time: This week, definitely moody. It doesn’t take much to set me off, and just about everything annoys me.
Looking forward to: Having weekly doctor appointments. I had my 36 week appointment on Wednesday, and this whole pregnancy counting down to those appointments where I get to hear the heartbeat, see baby’s face on an ultrasound, and just being reminded that I am moving forward have really helped the pregnancy go by quickly! Telling yourself to make it to that next appointment is much easier than telling yourself to make it nine months!
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